Kate Campbell - Visions Of Plenty

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  6. Suit Yourself -:-- / -:--
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  9. Funeral Food -:-- / -:--
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  11. Sing Me Out -:-- / -:--

Visions Of Plenty

Kate Campbell

Release Date: April 21, 1998

Visions Of Plenty was produced by Johnny Pierce and recorded at Cedarhouse Studio in Arrington, Tennessee. Musicians include Emmylou Harris, Bo Ramsey, Kevin Gordon, George Marinelli, and Spooner Oldham.

The album was nominated for “Folk Album Of The Year” at the Nashville Music Awards in 1998.

“Those who aspire to claiming 1998’s folk or country album of the year are gonna be hard pressed to come up with a musical masterpiece that can top this.” – Lee Zimmerman, Goldmine

Notes Coming Soon!

1. Visions Of Plenty

I live south of Memphis in downtown Hollywood
And these fields are all I’ve ever known
Season after season I have worked to find a way
To buy a piece of land to call my own
Sometimes when that Delta sun comes beating down
Well I swear those rows of cotton shine like gold

Visions of plenty
Roll across my mind
Still my hands are empty
And the system’s going dry
I keep thinking ’bout my children
What’s left down here for them
Just a cotton field of dreams (just a billboard full of dreams)
And everybody’s dreaming
Everybody’s dreaming
Dreaming just like me

A sign went up for Harrah’s on Highway 61
Promising we’d all be winners soon
So every Friday evening I go and spin the wheel
Sometimes I win, most times I lose
These lights are so much brighter than I thought they’d be
And they make me think I’ll see my dreams come true

Kate Campbell / Tricia Walker
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) / Songs of Crossfield, Inc. (BMI)

2. Bowl-A-Rama

Joseph Lane was a bowler
Headed for the PBA
He had a room full of trophies
And dreamed of the perfect game

One night at the Bowl-A-Rama
He got eleven strikes in a row
You could almost hear a pin drop
When he made that final roll

Bless my soul
Oh what a crime
The best he’ll ever bowl
Is 299

Now Joe was a wiry thin man
He loved his Lucky Strikes
You could find him at the snack bar
With a Coke and greasy fries

One day he had a heart attack
Fell down and nearly died
Had to put away his bowling shoes
But the alley is still his life

If you’re ever down at the Bowl-A-Rama
And run into a guy named Joe
Get him to tell you about that perfect game
He almost bowled

And when you think about this
You can’t help but smile
Cause sometimes when you miss something by an inch
It might as well have been a mile

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

3. Jesus And Tomatoes

I bought a pack of seeds
Tennessee Bradleys
The best homegrown you’ll find
How it happened I don’t know
Must’ve been the Miracle-Gro
Oh I could not believe my eyes
In my tomato bed
A holy image blood red

Smile, God loves you
I see him on the vine
This just might be a sign
Help me I’m confused
So many brands to choose
Jesus and tomatoes coming soon

Folks came from miles around
They laid their money down
To see that ripe phenomenon
It even made the evening news
And had a website too
This vegetable from heaven (or is it a fruit)
What rose up from the dirt
Now sells on t-shirts

The profits kept rolling in
I prayed they’d never end
And filed for tax exemption
I heard a knocking at my door
It was a lawyer for the Lord
Saying don’t do this no more
I said come and dine with me
We’ll have a BLT

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

4. Crazy In Alabama

I heard Odessa’s mind was sick
That she was crazier than hell
The police caught her turning tricks
Down at the Blue and Gray motel
Odessa was the neighbor’s maid
She had ten mouths at home to feed

They bussed her kids to Birmingham
And put her in the county jail
Nobody seemed to give a damn
They say a white man posted bail
My dad said not to breathe a word
I told my brother all I heard

And the train of change
Was coming fast to my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

It was crazy there were grown men fights
Over segregation and civil rights
Martin Luther King and the KKK
George C. Wallace and LBJ
And when the National Guard came in
I thought the world was gonna end
It was crazy in Alabama

Down at the corner Dairy Dip
They sold soft ice cream for a dime
White people ordered from the front
The side was for the colored line
We all were told they had their place
Because they were a different race

We spent hot summer afternoons
At the public swimming pool
Where the privileged and the few
Played on their island of cool blue
Brown children watched outside the fence
It never made one lick of sense

But the train of change
Was coming fast to my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

My momma yelled child get inside
Drew the drapes and locked the doors
We watched the marchers passing by
Felt the rumble heard the roar
They all held hands they sang and wept
And freedom rang in every step

Cause the train of change
Was marching through my hometown
We had the choice to climb on board
Or get run down

Kate Campbell / Kenya Slaughter Walker
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI) / Multisongs (SEASAC)

5. This Side Of Heaven

This side of heaven
There’s not much to go on
You never know
Which way the wind will blow
One day there’s caviar
The next a soup bowl
And you’re left wandering alone
This side of heaven

This side of heaven
People look the other way
Don’t stop to listen
Don’t want to know your name
But in this world
Ain’t it finny how things change
And you’re left wandering strange
This side of heaven

This side of heaven
The train is always late
All I seem to do
Is stand here at the gate
Listening for the whistle
And waiting for the day
I won’t be left wandering
This side of heaven

Kate Campbell / Kevin Gordon
© 1996 Large River Music (BMI) / Little Rain Music (BMI)

6. Suit Yourself

People talk about the way I dress
Tell me I should try and look my best
What does it matter there’s no wrong or right
It’s how you feel inside

Suit yourself
Go and shake your tambourine
Suit yourself
We all got our own song to sing
If you don’t like what you’re wearing
Wear something else
Suit yourself

I can see you’ve got an attitude
Cause when you talk to me you’re down right rude
Well you can be any way you want to be
But don’t take it out on me

Suit yourself
Go and shake your tambourine
Suit yourself
We all got our own song to sing
If you don’t like what you’re doing
Do something else
Suit yourself

It’s so hard to find good love these days
But you don’t have to take just anything
If he calls you up just to put you down
You don’t have to hang around

Suit yourself
Go and shake your tambourine
Suit yourself
We all got our own song to sing
If you don’t like who you’re loving
Love someone else
Suit yourself

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

7. Bus 109

They forced it on the county school board
And made a lot people mad
They planned to bus us off across town
And things got really bad

That’s when the private schools were started
And they opened in a rush
But daddy said come September
You’ll be riding bus

109 bus
109 bus
You’ll be fine (I’ll) (We’ll)
On bus 109

I met Lavonna Jones in gym class
She said my hair had no curl
We played basketball together
But came from different worlds

Lavonna lived down in the projects
Compared to her I had so much
You know my life was changed forever
All because of bus

One day Lavonna came to my house
What people thought didn’t matter to us
When the lines were drawn by colors
We crossed the line on bus

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

8. Deep Tang

Rust hills
Red clay
Steel mills
Deep tang

Lime stone
Iron veins
Loose coal
Deep tang

Beneath the haze
Your skies once blue
Now deep tang

Smoke stacks
Orange flames
Gray slag
Deep tang

Burnt sun
Brown rain
Black lung
Deep tang

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI)

9. Funeral Food

Aunt Fidelia brought the rolls
With her green bean casserole
The widow Smith down the street
Dropped by a bowl of butter beans
Plastic cups and silverware
Lime green Tupperware everywhere
Pass the chicken, pass the pie
We sure eat good when someone dies

Funeral food
It’s so good for the soul
Funeral food
Fills you up down to your toes
Funeral food
Funeral food

There sits mean ole Uncle Bob
Gnawing on a corn on the cob
And who’s that walking through the door
I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before
Isn’t it a shame she passed away
She made the best chocolate cake
Let’s hit the line a second time
We sure eat good when someone dies

Everybody’s here for the feast
But come next week where will they be

Kate Campbell / Ira Campbell / Johnny Pierce
© 1997 Large River Music (BMI) / Cedarsong Publishing (BMI)

10. A Perfect World

Shadows fall across the land
Prophets say the end’s at hand
More bad news everywhere I turn
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

Rebels rage and lions roar
Everyday it’s a brand new war
Lines are crossed and bombs are hurled
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

When your love wraps around me tight
I believe in paradise
There’s one place where my heart’s secure
Here in your arms it’s a perfect world

Homeless hearts on every street
Desperate eyes of poverty
No refuge left on God’s green earth
But in your arms it’s a perfect world

Kate Campbell / Mark Narmore
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI)

11. Sing Me Out

Down in Mississippi on a winter’s day
They laid his little girl in an early grave
Only the good Lord knows the tears he cried
When the angels sang her over to the other side

Sing me out
Lay my burdens down
Sing me out
Take my body to the burying ground
Sing me over Jordan cause I’m glory bound
Oh sweet Lord won’t you sing me out

Everyone said she was born of shame
From a rich man’s blood bore a poor man’s name
But he loved that child like she was his own
The closest thing to heaven he would ever hold

From where he stands he can hear the sound
Of those old gravediggers turning up the ground
It’s been thirty years since she left his hands
And he’s still waiting on the Promised Land

Kate Campbell / Kevin Gordon
© 1995 Fame Publishing Co. Inc. (BMI) / Little Rain Music (BMI)

In the remarkably short space of two albums, singer/songwriter Kate Campbell has come from total obscurity to gain a position of praise and prominence usually achieved only after attaining a much lengthier resume. It’s no wonder; as Visions Of Plenty, her remarkable third outing attests, Campbell is a wonderfully sensitive and expressive singer and songwriter, one with an eye for detail and an ear for a vibrant melody. Musically, Campbell wins comparison to the likes of Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith. However, it’s her literary reference points that have made the critics sit up and take notice. Born and raised in Mississippi and Tennessee, her songs capture the heart of the Southland in a way that some have likened to William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. The sweetly engaging title track finds her singing of faith and dreams even in the midst of despair and desperation. The images of urban decay that’s captured in the minimalist lyrics of “Deep Tang” is awash in futility and resignation. “Bus 109” and “Crazy In Alabama” offer vivid views of the struggle against segregation from a southerner’s point of view, capturing the chaos and confusion that run through childhood memories. “And the train of change, Was coming fast to my hometown, We had the choice to climb on board, Or get run down.” Fortunately, Campbell also finds reason to rejoice, whether It’s the celebration of spirit in “Funeral Food,” a playful poke at religious quackery in “Jesus and Tomatoes,” a would-be-bowling pro’s just-shy-of-perfect score in the perky “Bowl-A-Rama,” or the embracing envelope of love and support that shines through the soothing “Perfect World.” In addition, the album demonstrates real musical muscle, thanks in part to a stellar supporting cast that includes Emmylou Harris, Spooner Oldham and especially producer/guitarist Johnny Pierce whose engaging arrangements complement the songs with shimmering textures throughout. From the delicate blend of recorder and guitar on the lovely “This Side Of Heaven” to the bluesy gospel stance of “Sing Me Out” to the funky saxophones that accompany Kate’s Bonnie Raitt–like take on “Suit Yourself,” Campbell and company effectively vary moods and melodies throughout. Is Visions Of Plenty the best album of Campbell’s career? It’s hard to say; her first two offerings, Songs From The Levee and Moonpie Dreams are so outstanding, they defy comparison. But as far as Campbell’s competition is concerned, those who aspire to claiming 1998’s folk or country album of the year are gonna be hard pressed to come up with a musical masterpiece that can top this. Any takers?

– Lee Zimmerman, Goldmine

Kate Campbell is a wonderful songwriter who writes beautifully detailed stories of southern life. “Bowl-A-Rama” is the surprisingly poignant tragedy of a man who never bowled better than a 299; “Jesus and Tomatoes” is a deliciously wicked tale of a woman who finds a vegetable (“or is it a fruit?”) with the image of you know who, and “Crazy In Alabama” discusses desegregation without preaching. Though her music shows off her native roots, the Mississippi born Campbell covers a wide range of styles, strumming and singing as convincingly on the Motown-influenced “Suit Yourself” as on the swampy rocker “Bus 109.”

– David Gold, Acoustic Guitar